SATURDAY, APRIL 12, 2014
Stepping out of his comfort zone Former flight steward Philip Paul Peters relishes the challenges of being a diplomat
by teo kuan yee AFTER he was unsuccessful in his job application to join the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) as a foreign service officer (FSO) in 2003, Mr Philip Paul Peters — who holds a Bachelor of Social Sciences (Honours) in political science — worked as an air steward. Five years ago, he took a second shot at joining MFA and succeeded. Mr Peters, who is now Deputy High Commissioner and First Secretary (Administration and Consular) at the Singapore High Commission in Pretoria in South Africa, recalls: “I was quite disappointed back then, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise
because, looking back, I don’t think I had the maturity to handle the challenges that are unique to MFA.” He started his career in MFA as protocol officer in charge of logistics and protocol arrangements ranging from seating plans to motorcades. One particularly memorable assignment was the Prime Minister’s visit to Copenhagen, Denmark, in December 2009 for the 15th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. To cater to more than 100 heads of state and government attending the event, Mr Peters and his team worked extremely hard to compete for and secure resources like transportation, meeting and hotel rooms, restaurants and access passes for the delegation.
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EXECUTIVE/ADMIN Collaboration & Partnership Manager, Research & Development Office You will work closely with researchers and innovators in our institutions to facilitate collaboration and ensure that research outcomes are appropriately managed and protected. You will review research-related agreements, oversee the creation and maintenance of our IP portfolio, conduct due diligence, and facilitate partnership with external institutions and the industry. In the course of your work, you will also promote the development and transfer of technology and its commercialisation. On top of that, you will provide training for our researchers in research-related areas such as IP, commercialisation, and agreements, as well as organise seminars and workshops to facilitate partnerships for research. Requirements: • Bachelor’s Degree in related Biomedical Sciences studies – a Master’s Degree in Health Sciences will be an advantage • At least 4 years of experience in technology transfer and business development • Experience and knowledge in IP • Experience in reviewing research collaboration, licences, clinical trials, and other research-related agreements • Good knowledge of national grants landscape • A keen interest in technology development and commercialisation • Ability to negotiate skilfully and structure deals with partners • Ability to provide training and guidance to junior staff • Excellent oral and written communication and presentation skills
Assistant Manager/Senior/Executive, Regional Health System You will support all studies, initiatives, and programmes related to the Regional Health System. You will also engage government bodies, social organisations, healthcare organisations, service providers, and Voluntary Welfare Organisations for collaboration in the community. In addition, you will conduct benchmarking and support service integration with partnering organisations. On top of that, you will organise, facilitate, and provide secretariat support for various workgroups, forums, and events. Requirements: • Bachelor’s Degree in Healthcare, Business, or Marketing • Relevant work experience in the healthcare, business development, or marketing sector will be an advantage • Good writing skills • Good interpersonal and communication skills • Ability to work well as part of a team • Proficiency in Microsoft Office applications
Assistant Manager, HR (Learning & Development) You will lead a team and partner with the Management and line to build staff competencies, as well as identify, develop, and engage talents for succession planning. You will be responsible for the full spectrum of Learning & Development (L&D) duties. In your role, you will plan, execute, and evaluate the overall corporate learning plan, as well as design, develop, deliver, and evaluate learning programmes. You will also partner with the Management to review succession plans and the talent pipeline, as well as identify, develop, and engage High Potentials and Succession Candidates. On top of that, you will analyse the HR dashboard for learning, talent management, and succession planning, review the systems and processes related to L&D, and enhance their effectiveness and efficiency. You will also have the opportunity to undertake organisation development projects. Requirements: • Bachelor’s Degree in any discipline • At least 5 years of relevant experience in learning, talent management, and succession planning, which should include at least 2 years of experience in a team leader position • A resourceful, innovative, and meticulous individual with exemplary planning and execution skills • Strong leadership, interpersonal, facilitation, and multitasking skills • Excellent oral and written communication skills • Proficiency in Microsoft Office applications
His stint as a flight steward helped him acquire soft skills and confidence which are useful in his current job. PHOTO: MFA
Assistant Manager/Senior/Executive, Corporate Planning You will be part of the Corporate Development Office, where you will provide corporate administration support to various management, corporate events, and projects undertaken by the department. You will also assist in the planning and facilitation of organisation development activities to support organisation strategy or change management. In your role, you will plan and provide operational support for retreats and meetings, as well as prepare presentation materials, document templates, reading materials, and meeting minutes. You will also consolidate input from various stakeholders for regular management reports and for tracking matters that arise from these meetings. In addition, you will assist in the preparation of papers and provide secretariat support to Board and Senior Management Meetings. On top of that, you will develop policies and procedures, as well as provide operational support for activities related to governance and statutory compliance such as the Personal Data Protection Act. You will also be involved in the administration and implementation of a variety of projects assigned to the department. You will organise events and projects that require you to request for quotes, negotiate with vendors, perform program planning, and provide detailed logistic planning. You will also conduct research on the subject matter to access more information, hold discussion with stakeholders to gather input, and provide tracking of the project with a regular summary. Requirements: • Bachelor’s Degree in any discipline • Excellent oral and written communication skills • Proficiency in Microsoft Office applications • Conversance with various IT tools • Experience in any one of the following areas will be an advantage: – Organisation development – Facilitation of meetings or retreats and corporate secretarial work – Corporate compliance operations
Senior/Research Analyst, HOMER You will be a key member of HOMER (Health Outcomes and Medical Education Research), an interdisciplinary research team that contributes to the health of Singapore’s population by strengthening the connection between health professions education activities and health outcomes. You will examine issues related to health professions education, and work closely with allied-health professionals, doctors, and healthcare administrators to design and construct rigorous interdisciplinary scholarly research. You will also develop conceptual, methodological, and practical tools for research and application, manage research projects, conduct research workshops, communicate research findings to academic and practitioner communities via publications and presentations, and translate research findings into practice. Above all, you will provide support for the health professions education research community, and engage in high-quality and relevant research that are focused on enabling improvements in health professions education to lead to better health for individuals and the overall population. About HOMER: Research at HOMER falls within the Pasteur’s Quadrant, or what is known as “use-inspired basic research,” which is research that improves fundamental understanding and solves practical problems at once. For more information of HOMER, please go to www.nhg-homer.org. Requirements: • A Postgraduate Degree in Anthropology, Communications, Education, Human Computer Interaction, Human Factors, Organisational Behaviour, Psychology, Social Work, Sociology, or a related discipline • Applicants for the Senior Research Analyst position should have at least two years of postgraduate research experience • A relevant background in healthcare professions or a postgraduate qualification in health professions education will be an advantage
To apply for the positions above, log on to https://corp.nhg.com.sg/Careers We regret that only shortlisted candidates will be notified. The National Healthcare Group (NHG) is a leading public healthcare provider in Singapore. We manage: Two Hospitals — Tan Tock Seng Hospital and the Institute of Mental Health/Woodbridge Hospital; One National Centre — National Skin Centre; the NHGP chain of nine polyclinics in — Ang Mo Kio, Bukit Batok, Choa Chu Kang, Clementi, Hougang, Jurong, Toa Payoh, Woodlands, and Yishun; One Specialty Institute — NHG Eye Institute; and five Business Divisions — NHG 1-Health, NHG Diagnostics, NHG Pharmacy, Singapore Footcare Centre, and Primary Care Academy; and the Johns Hopkins Singapore International Medical Centre.
“We had to be resourceful, creative and assertive to get what we needed. It was quite an intimidating experience for a six-month-old greenhorn but it gave me a taste of what is to be expected of a FSO,” recalls Mr Peters. While most people think that his degree in political science would help him in his career as a FSO, he begs to differ. “What I found most helpful for my role were the soft skills and confidence I acquired as a flight steward. While the two jobs appear to be worlds apart, these attributes have helped me adapt to the work challenges and overseas working environment,” he explains. Prior to his current posting in January 2012, he often travelled overseas for both training and operational purposes. In 2009, he visited Hanoi for a training trip. In 2010, he was coincidentally sent to Pretoria to be exposed to the workings of an overseas Mission. The diplomatic community in Pretoria is the second largest in the world outside Washington DC. “As a representative of Singapore in a foreign country, I feel responsible for giving others a positive impression of our country. This sense of responsibility has encouraged me to improve on my knowledge of Singapore and the way I carry myself in public,” he says.
Helping overseas Singaporeans The Singapore High Commission in Pretoria is a small outfit comprising five staff from Singapore and six from South Africa. Mr Peters’ team is tasked with maintaining and improving relations between Singapore and South Africa, and providing consular assistance to Singaporeans in distress in the region. Describing his job scope as “very diverse and wide ranging”, Mr Peters oversees the High Commission’s operations such as its human resource, property maintenance and finances. He also organises events such as the annual National Day Reception and manage visits by delegations from Singapore.
As a representative of Singapore in a foreign country, I feel responsible for giving others a positive impression of our country. This sense of responsibility has encouraged me to improve on my knowledge of Singapore and the way I carry myself in public — Mr Philip Paul Peters (above), Deputy High Commissioner and First Secretary (Administration and Consular), MFA
When former president Nelson Mandela passed away in December last year, Mr Peters and his team undertook the logistical arrangements for the visiting delegation attending the State Funeral — all within a short notice. They had to grapple with inevitable changes arising from dynamic circumstances. Occasionally, he hosts or attends lunches with his counterparts to network and discuss issues, and spends evenings and weekends at official functions such as National Day receptions or Asean events, which are good networking opportunities. He is also on standby 24/7 to assist Singaporeans who require urgent consular assistance. For instance, there had been several cases of Singaporeans being robbed of their passports in South and southern Africa. The challenge lies in providing them the necessary assurances to calm them down and managing their expectations. The staff at the High Commission is a close-knit one, and often meets together with their families, for meals or braais (Afrikaans for barbecue). “My personal growth and development is supported by my immediate supervisor, High Commissioner Bernard Baker, who is both encouraging yet firm with his staff. The positive tone that he has set for the office has resulted in a harmonious and supportive working environment,” says Mr Peters. On what it takes to work in MFA, he says: “You need maturity and fortitude to survive in MFA but initiative, resourcefulness, adaptability, self-awareness and self-confidence to excel. “If you enjoy challenges, being pushed to the limit and being taken out of your comfort zone, I would strongly encourage you to join us in the foreign service.”